CMU Daily - on the inside Friday 11th April
yesterday's Daily - Daily archive

In today's CMU Daily:
- Live Nation take majority stake in T In The Park
- Snoop settles Priority dispute
- Poison man sued over state of reality show house
- Jacko dropped from hospital lawsuit
- Guns n Roses to release the Chinese Democracy
- Kooks departure down to drugs
- DMX fans maced after gig cut short
- Bob Marley's mother dies
- Matchbox 20 release live USB shows
- White Denim announce debut album
- Leftfield man soundtracks new advert
- Jurassic 5 may reform
- Glastonbury is good for local community
- Razorlight man goes solo
- Magnetic fields to play UK shows
- Raconteurs announce UK shows
- BBC Proms attempt to broaden appeal
- Gandhi tour benefit concert
- Single Review: Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova - Falling Slowly
- Dramatico appears in fastest growing companies list
- Wembley GM to go to Ticketmaster
- XL launch new kind of label website
- News Corp may get involved in Microsoft's Yahoo! takeover bid
- OfCom considering giving licence fee share to commercial types
- BBC radio chief steps down
- Beyonce shows us her ring
- Natalie Portman dating Devendra Banhart
- Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis to marry
- Lily Allen caught giggling in toilet

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TOP BIT
So, this is interesting. The boss of Virgin Media, Neil Berkett, has been talking about so called "net neutrality", calling the principle "a load of bollocks".

Net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers should not give their customers better access - ie faster access - to one website over another.

The principle opposes an idea advocated by some in the internet service provider sector, whereby content owners would be encouraged to pay them a fee to ensure that access to their websites via their servers was faster and more reliable. The result of that idea, of course, is that websites who do not or cannot pay the premium will not be able to guarantee their users fast and unhindered access to their content and websites. Those who oppose the idea, and therefore advocate net neutrality, argue that such a scheme would create a two tier internet, where big media players who could afford to pay a premium would have an advantage in the online domain over smaller independent players who could not. Doing so would destroy the relative level playing field which is, arguably, one of the greatest things about the net, and may also hinder the small indie types who have, in the main, been behind many of the most exciting developments in digital media to date.

The whole issue has been debated much more in the US, where some key ISPs have been talking about setting up the 'pay a premium to ensure access to your website' system more publicly. That has led to the previously reported Rock The Net campaign which is supported by the US's indie label trade body A2IM, and which is lobbying political types to safeguard net neutrality through legislation. But the whole thing is likely to get debated here more in the coming months as ISPs like Tiscali call on the likes of the BBC to contribute to the rising costs net providers are incurring because of the popularity of high capacity services like the iPlayer. In essence, the inference of those calls is that if the BBC wants to be able to offer a reliable video on demand service, it will ultimately have to pay the ISPs a fee to guarantee that reliability.

In an interview with the Royal Television Society's magazine, Berkett says that his company is already in talks with some unnamed content providers about them paying a premium in return for guarantees regarding delivery. As the demand for streaming video content rises, this is going to become a increasingly big issue - because the demand for bandwidth is set to increase bigtime, and the ISP's costs will increase likewise, which is bad news for them given that they've all reduced their monthly subscriptions in recent years in a bid to get as big a chunk of the broadband market as possible.

Part of me thinks the ISPs have only got themselves to blame in that regard, for letting themselves get into such a big price war, though in the same way creating good content costs money (which is why record labels et al need to safeguard their copyrights), delivering content in a good way costs money too, and someone has to pay for that, and one way or another that means consumers are going to have to pay more, whether that be through increased ISP subscriptions or in more indirect ways.

It has to be said, I don't really have an especially strong opinion here - possibly because I only have a basic understanding of the issues in hand. However, I do feel that if, as a result of solving this problem, the ISPs create a situation whereby the independent content owners are penalised, and the great level playing field of the net is lost, that would be a bad thing. Net neutrality may be a bit utopian, but it's not "bollocks", and I think this is probably an issue that should be getting some wide ranging debate from everyone involved in all things content and net. So if that's you, go get debating.

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JOBS N STUFF

PRESS OFFICER, FORMULA ONE
Near Oxford - £Competitive
You could be jetting off around the world to be the public face of this giant in Formula One at Grands Prix! We are on the hunt for a Press Officer to join our communications team. You will have the responsibility to prioritise and manage all media enquiries and to co-ordinate major projects. You must be an experienced consumer PR practitioner, with some experience at a PR agency. You must be fluent in at least one European language or Japanese and be educated to degree level. To apply, send your CV and a covering letter stating your current salary and why you are the right person for this role to jobs@unicornjobs.com quoting reference SS14

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VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Soundclash at Cargo.
Yes, we're tipping The Bays for like the millionth time, but it's our mission to ensure every single CMU Daily reader sees these guys at somepoint. We reckon the world will be a better place once that has happened. The Bays, of course, only ever play live. Comprised of Andy Gangadeen on drums, my man of the hour, Jamie Odell (Freerange Records boss, aka Jimpster) on keyboards and synths, Simon Richmond (from Palmskin Productions) providing effects and samples, and Chris Taylor on bass, they have no 'songs' as such to perform, and no album to promote, they never rehearse and they don't have a set list - they just jam, adjusting to the crowd and general mood of the room. They are on at 10pm at this Soundclash event, and are definitely the big tip for this weekend. Also doing the Clash are Pest, the crazy quintet from Ninja Tune, which means lots of cool dancefloor beatz weirdness, and also live is Memory9, aka Gadi Sassoon, who mashes up genres - so expect bass heavy laptop and guitar sets via dubstep and jazz. Another good night under the arches of the mighty Cargo.

Saturday 12 Apr, 8pm - 3am, £6 b4 9, £10 adv £12 after, Cargo, 83 Rivington St, Shoreditch, London EC2A, more info at http://www.cargo-london.com, press: Joe at Cargo.

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LIVE NATION TAKE MAJORITY STAKE IN T IN THE PARK
Now, if I was one of those terrible journalists who always look for the populist slant, I might say that, given the widespread reporting on the relatively slow sale of tickets for Glastonbury 2008 this week, perhaps live music giants Live Nation have decided their stake in Glasto co-promoter Festival Republic doesn't, after all, give them a stake in Britain's most popular largescale music festival, and that is why they have moved to take a stake in that other very popular largescale music fest that happens here on these British Isles - T In The Park - which, after all, sold out in minutes this year.

Though [a] we're of the opinion that Glasto's "hard times" have been radically over exaggerated (they have such a large capacity, of course, they've already outsold every other festival even though they haven't sold out) and [b] this deal has presumably been in negotiations for a while now. But hey, "Live Nation shun Glasto and take stake in T In The Park" is a great story, even if it is made up.

Anyway, what isn't made up is that Live Nation are buying a 67% stake in DF Concerts, the promoters of the T In The Park and Hydro Connect festivals, among many other things. The purchase, according to Scottish tabloid the Daily Record, is through Live Nation's joint venture with Irish based Gaiety Investments, the partnership through which its aforementioned stake in Festival Republic was achieved (Gaiety, it should be noted, was actually already an investor in DF).

Confirming the deal, DF chief Geoff Ellis told reporters: "We are pleased to welcome Live Nation into DF Concerts. We look forward to continuing to work with an array of diverse artists and creating first class events such as T in the Park and Hydro Connect".

Live Nation UK boss Paul Latham added: "Live Nation is delighted to have a promotional and festival presence in Scotland. We are looking forward to working with Geoff Ellis and his team on their many projects".

The deal has led to some chatter as to whether the involvement of a live music conglom like Live Nation in T In The Park will have any impact on the popular three day event - though insiders say DF and its events are likely to continue pretty much as before, except with the extra commercial security and clout that comes with being linked to a major multi-national promoter, and to be fair, if Festival Republic is anything to go by, Live Nation and Gaiety's involvement in the business side shouldn't have any noticeable effect on the company's events.

It does, however, mean that Live Nation now have interests in the Download, Wireless, Reading, Leeds, Latitude, Rise, Glastonbury, Creamfields, Connect and T In The Park festivals which, if you were one of those anti-corporation conspiracy theorists, might look like a rather good attempt at (live music) world domination.

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SNOOP SETTLES PRIORITY DISPUTE
Well, what a relief, Snoop Dogg has settled that previously reported lawsuit that was ongoing between him and his former record label, EMI US's Priority Records.

As previously reported, Snoop sued the EMI division in 2006 claiming he was owed over a million in royalties plus a £475,000 advance from his 2000 album 'Tha Last Meal' and some kind of compensation for a greatest hits collection the label released without the rapper's consent. Since the filing of the lawsuit, talks were ongoing between the rapper's people and the major label, but an out of court settlement was a long time coming, so much so a US judge recently said that if agreement could not be reached by the end of March the case would have to come to court, which, seemingly, neither side really wanted.

Snoop's people confirmed this week a settlement had been finally reached. Specifics of the settlement are confidential, though when asked if he was happy with that settlement a legal rep for Priority, David Steinber, told reporters: "I don't believe a settlement would have been reached unless both sides were happy".

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POISON MAN SUED OVER STATE OF REALITY SHOW HOUSE
The owner of a $9 million house in California is suing former Poison frontman Bret Michaels who used the property as a base for a reality TV show he fronted called 'Rock Of Love'. The owner of the house, Ray Sahranavard, says that after the TV programme was filmed there, the property was in such a state, to the extent that there were holes in the ceilings and walls, that he had to undertake $380,000 in repairs and redecoration. He has already sued the makers of the reality show, in which a group of women compete for dates with the aging rocker, but has now added Michaels himself to the lawsuit, seemingly because the show's producers said they did not monitor the rocker's use of the house when filming was not going on. Sahranavard claims Michaels and the TV company are in breach of a contractual commitment to care for the property and, in the TV firm's case, for failing to take out the buildings insurance they pledged to do so. Both are also accused of negligence. Michaels is yet to respond to the litigation.

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JACKO DROPPED FROM HOSPITAL LAWSUIT
While Michaels is added to a lawsuit, Michael Jackson has been dropped from one. You may remember that the family of a lady called Manuela Gomez Ruiz last year sued the singer and the Marian Medical Center in California over allegations the gravely ill Ruiz was deprived valuable medical treatment after Jacko was admitted to the Center suffered from flu like symptoms amid his high profile 2005 child abuse trial. Ruiz, they said, was moved from her room to make way for Jackson, something, the allege, which contributed to her death later that day. Their claim against the singer and the hospital is ongoing. Both defendants attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed, and according to the Associated Press, Judge Rodney Melville agreed on Tuesday that the case was not strong enough to continue against the singer, though the legal action against the hospital reportedly still stands. No comment as yet from any of the parties involved.

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GUNS N' ROSES TO RELEASE THE CHINESE DEMOCRACY
We realise it's hard to read that headline without a little "I'll believe it when I see it" cynicism, but, if reports are to be believed, Axl Rose has delivered his band's looooooooong-awaited new album 'Chinese Democracy' in its completed form to his record label, Universal's Geffen.

According to reports, all that needs to be decided now is how to promote the album in a manner that will recoup the reported $15 million recording costs that have built up over the last 14 years. AllYourTV.com are reporting that Rose and Geffen are now in talks with TV companies about airing a reality TV show, which would follow GNR in the run-up to the album's release and seemingly use previously recorded footage of Rose et al. The label are hoping that this would re-excite a mainstream audience in the rock band, get the GNR faithful fanbase energised, and get Rose plenty of controlled media exposure - important give his often less-than-friendly attitude to journalists. Presumably it would also generate revenue in itself.

"There is a lot of footage to choose from," said 'a network source' with knowledge the show. "Some of it is incredibly personal and revealing about Axl's life". The 'source' also let slip that a deal to get everything up and running is "close, but not signed".

Presumably bosses at Dr Pepper will now be punching the air or punching the walls, depending on how likely they thought it would be that they would have to follow-up on their recent offer to give everyone in America (except former GNR guitarists Slash and Buckethead) a free can of Dr Pepper if 'Chinese Democracy' was released this year.

But let's not all get too excited just yet. Especially you Dr Pepper drinking US readers out there in CMU land. As you should know by now in this saga, anything can happen. And when I say "anything can happen", I mean nothing usually happens.

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KOOKS DEPARTURE DOWN TO DRUGS
The Kooks have revealed that the recent departure of their bassist Max Rafferty was down to his drug addiction.

Singer Luke Pritchard told Orange: "Max was in and out for a long time and we kind of made the decision that we wanted to carry on without him. Things got a bit much for him, I think. He was struggling [with] various issues [including] his anxieties and taking drugs probably a lot more than he should have been doing or wanted to be doing".

Meanwhile, in a recent interview with the Fly, Pritchard also said: "When Max was in the band we weren't getting on. Everyone was just feeling like they didn't want to be there and that was because of the issues between us with Max in there. We love Max to pieces, but when you feel depressed and you don't want to be on tour anymore, you might as well pack it all in. Don't forget that he did leave for nine months after we released our first album. We've had a lot of time spent without him. It's probably one of the big reasons we weren't getting on, because he spent nine months away from us all and of course people change in nine months. We're different people and so is he".

I'm not sure that's true actually. As far as I can see Pritchard is still a bit of a wanker. Oh, only joking. The Kooks, by the way, release their second album 'Konk' on Monday.

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DMX FANS MACED AFTER GIG CUT SHORT
Students at a DMX concert at Indiana University the other night were maced by local police, which is one way to spend a night out. Fans at the rapper's gig seemingly got a little pissed off after police called for the show to end after just three songs. It seems the venue had a 9.30pm curfew - which seems rather early, but whatever - and because the rapper showed up an hour late for his 8.30pm slot, gig goers were never going to get much of a performance for their dollar. As police tried to bring the show to an end three songs in the audience - perhaps not surprisingly - got a little rowdy, which is when, according to the Indiana Daily Student, officers got the tear gas out.

Since the debacle, DMX's people have issued a statement stressing he was not aware of the rules regarding the curfew, and as such distanced himself from responsibility for the late start, the cutting short of the gig, and the resulting fracas. The statement reads: "Regarding the events that took place at the Indiana University DMX Children Uniting Nations concert last night, DMX was not the instigator nor is he to blame for the concert ending early. The Bloomfield police cut his show short due to the agreement that Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity had with the University that the concert would stop at 9:30PM because of a noise ordinance law. DMX, management and the promoter were not aware of this law. DMXfeels its unfortunate that he could not fully perform for this charity show and he hopes to return to Indiana University in the future for another show".

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BOB MARLEY'S MOTHER DIES
Cedella Booker, the mother of reggae legend Bob Marley, died in her sleep at her home in Miami, Florida on Tuesday (8 Apr), it has been announced. She was 81.

Booker married Norval Marley, who was 32 years her senior, when she was 18. Her husband died of a heart attack in 1955. Their only child, Bob Marley, died from a brain tumour in 1981. She wrote two biographies of her famous son and released two albums as a singer herself.

Cedella is survived by two children from a subsequent marriage and several grandchildren.

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MATCHBOX 20 RELEASE LIVE USB SHOWS
Matchbox 20 have announced they are selling recordings of all their upcoming live shows on USB sticks. Kicking off with last night's show in Melbourne and continuing throughout their Australian tour, the band are allowing fans to purchase recordings of the show they have just watched for a mere 35 Australian dollars (£16.50).

Once at home, fans can transfer the files to their PC, lose the stick or put it in a box and never look at it again. Or treasure it for the rest of their lives I suppose. If you'd like to do any of that but don't live in Australia (or didn't have $35 in your pocket at the time), you'll be able to buy the sticks from the Matchbox 20 website as well.

http://www.matchboxtwenty.com

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WHITE DENIM ANNOUNCE DEBUT ALBUM
Texan trio White Denim have announced details of their much-anticipated debut album. Entitled 'Workout Holiday', it will be released on 23 Jun via Full Time Hobby.

Here's the tracklist:

Lets Talk About It
Shake Shake Shake
Sitting
I Can Tell You
Mess Your Hair Up
Heart From All Of Us
All You Really Have To Do
Look That Way At It
Darksided Computer Mouth
WDA
Dont Look That Way At It
IEIEI

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LEFTFIELD MAN SOUNDTRACKS NEW ADVERT
Former Leftfield man Neil Barnes has teamed up with Audi to provide music for a new advert, which debuted on UK TV last night. For the track, Barnes and long-time collaborator Nick Rapaccioli (also a former member of Leftfield) sonically interpreted the movements of gymnasts, using undulating beats and rhythms, mixed with sounds recorded from the new Audi R6.

The deal was set up by new music consultancy Tonic Music, which hopes to give emerging and established artists the opportunity to push new material through adverts. The company will launch officially in the summer.

This is not Barnes and Rapaccioli's first brush with adverts, of course. The Leftfield track 'Phat Planet' was famously used in Guinness' 1999 'Surfers' commercial, which was voted number 1 in Channel 4's Top 100 Adverts poll.

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JURASSIC 5 MAY REFORM
Former Jurassic 5 member Charli 2na has been speaking to Gigwise about his former group and has revealed that they may yet reform.

2na said: "You know what? I can never say never. I don't know what's going to happen in the future. As of now we're just taking a real long, long, long, long, break. I liken this thing with J5 to a relationship gone bad with a woman. It's like you've been in a long relationship with a girl and you both know that it's over but none of y'all are saying anything. The J5 split kinda did that to us but then finally someone said something. We just let it be free. If it comes back then it was meant to be. That's how I look at it. I mean we've had fifteen years of love and success in areas where other people, who are our peers, haven't had the same success. God willing I hope that we can shake the stuff off that was bothering us and make it happen once again".

Jurassic 5 split in 2007, a year after the departure of DJ and founding member Cut Chemist. Charli 2na is now touring with New Orleans funk outfit Galactic.

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GLASTONBURY IS GOOD FOR LOCAL COMMUNITY
A report published by Somerset's Mendip District Council has found that last year's Glastonbury Festival generated over £73 million of spending in the local area.

Each of the 177,500 ticket-holders and traders on site spent on average £293.24, generating approximately £25.6 million, with off-site spending reaching £26.5 million. In addition to that, there was a further £21.2 million in spending associated with staging the event.

Councillor Harvey Siggs, leader of Mendip District Council, said: "The study has provided some important data which will not only help those involved to plan future festivals but also to look at how the festival affects Mendip. This information will enable us to better understand how it affects our local economy, which is so important to many aspects of our lives and business, and has shown us in detail how large-scale events impact on our local area. I hope this study can be used by other festivals and organisations as a key educational tool to demonstrate the value and difficulties of large-scale events".

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RAZORLIGHT MAN GOES SOLO
How often do you get to write that headline twice in one week? Not often, I can tell you. This week is one of those rare weeks though, because following the confirmation earlier this week of drummer Andy Burrows' solo album, last night Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell played a brief solo set in east London's Reliance Square venue.

Borrell kicked off his set with Razorlight songs 'Before I Fall To Pieces' and 'Golden Touch' before covering 'Hotel Yorba' by The White Stripes and 'Lousy Weekend' by Daniel Johnston. He was joined for all four songs by the rather lovely French solo artist SoKo.

Among the audience were Fred Les of Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man, Ross Millard of The Futureheads, members of The Horrors, actor Danny Dyer, 'Skins' star Nicholas Hoult, Kid Harpoon and Jodie Harsh.

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MAGNETIC FIELDS TO PLAY UK SHOWS
Influential indie types The Magnetic Fields have announced their first UK dates in four years. The band will play two nights at Cadogan Hall in London in 9 and 10 Jul.

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RACONTEURS ANNOUNCE UK SHOWS
The Raconteurs will play two UK shows next month. Here they are:

14 May: London Hammersmith Apollo
15 May: Liverpool Carling Academy

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BBC PROMS ATTEMPT TO BROADEN APPEAL
Possibly responding to Culture Minister Margaret Hodges' comments last month that the Proms (and other cultural events in the UK) failed to attract a diverse enough audience, Proms bosses have announced a number of schemes to get more people involved. This year's festival will include maypole dancing, street musicians, free concerts and a performance of the Doctor Who theme tune by Nigel Kennedy.

In fact there will be a whole Doctor Who themed night on 27 Jul. No, really. The whole thing will open with a pre-recorded scene, specially written by Russell T Davies and starring David Tennant. During the show, which will also include performances of various other space-themed classical compositions, Daleks and Cyber Men will roam the stage. Though Proms chiefs stress this sci-fi fest is not a sign of the music programme dumbing down, so that's alright then.

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GANDHI TOUR BENEFIT CONCERT
This year's worldwide Gandhi Tour hits London this weekend (Saturday 12 Apr) at Kingsley Hall.

The event is organised by Tribes Of The World and Music 4 Peace in conjunction with the Festival Of Non-Violence, and exists to commemorate the years that have passed since the assassinations of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King.

One of the highlights of the show will be live performance from 1001 Ways, featuring rare recorded voice and film footage of Mahatma Gandhi (some of which was recorded and filmed at Kingsley Hall in 1931).

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SINGLE REVIEW: Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova - Falling Slowly (Anti Records)
It's unusual for an artist to release a single after it has received popular and critical acclaim. Yet the unique context in which 'Falling Slowly' is being released is symptomatic of the unexpected and meteoric rise to fame Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova have enjoyed following the success of the film 'Once'. And like the film, their music deserves all the praise it can get. The romantic indie song, 'Falling Slowly', remains beautiful and haunting, evocative of the special connection Hansard and Irglova share on screen and presumably in real life. Irglova's cherubic voice nicely complements Hansard's emotionally loaded serenade, and the music itself is heart wrenching enough to match the lyrics, with an added touch of theatricality. If they continue to produce music of this quality, their success post-Once can only continue. EO
Release Date: 21 April
Press Contact: Stone Immaculate [all]

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DRAMATICO APPEARS IN FASTEST GROWING COMPANIES LIST
Dramatico, the indie label run by Mike Batt and behind the phenomenon that is Katie Melua, has been listed at number 31 in a survey of the fastest growing privately owned companies. The label appears in a list made by UK business mag Real Business, and is based on the rate of growth the company has experienced since its launch in 2000, growth aided in no small part by Melua's massive worldwide success, of course.

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WEMBLEY GM TO GO TO TICKETMASTER
Pete Tudor, currently General Manager for the Wembley Arena, is set to join Ticketmaster UK, or that's what Billboard are reporting. In some ways that sees Tudor joining the opposition, in that the Wembley Arena is managed by Live Nation, and they, of course, are not renewing their current ticketing partnership with Ticketmaster choosing instead to launch their own ticket agency business. It's not entirely clear what he'll do at Ticketmaster, though Billboard say he'll report directly to the company's UK MD Chris Edmonds.

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XL LAUNCH NEW KIND OF LABEL WEBSITE
Beggars' XL Recordings label will relaunch their website so that it sucks in content on their artists from other websites, including video sites like YouTube and music media websites like the BBC News, NME and Pitchfork. Which is a sensible thing for a label website to do, if you think about it, though what happens if the likes of the BBC, NME and Pitchfork start publishing negative reviews or reports on XL artists I don't know.

Confirming the new style of label website, XL Recordings founder Richard Russell told CMU: "XL is privileged to work with some of the most focused and talented artists around; the aim of this new-styled website is to present these artists in the fairest and most current possible way".

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NEW CORP MAY GET INVOLVED IN MICROSOFT'S YAHOO! TAKEOVER BID
Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is reportedly talking to Microsoft about involvement in its bid to take over Yahoo! As previously reported, the IT giant has been making moves to buy the net company, but Yahoo! bosses have so far resisted those moves, arguing Microsoft are undervaluing their company. But Microsoft seem determined to get Yahoo!, and have indicated that they may launch a hostile takeover if necessary.

According to the New York Times, News Corp is talking to Microsoft about forming an alliance in the online domain, and then bidding for Yahoo! together - the Murdoch company's involvement would presumably enable them to up their offer and secure a takeover without having to go the messy hostile route. Such a deal would bring Microsoft's MSN network and News Corp's MySpace social network and all of Yahoo!'s assets into one group, which would give that group considerable influence in the web advertising space, and enable it to take on their big competitor in that domain, Google.

Yahoo!, meanwhile, says it is still considering all options for its future development. While that means any Microsoft or News Corp deal would still be considered, they are currently piloting an advertising alliance with Google, which could potentially piss off other suitors. Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal reports a deal between Yahoo! and AOL is once again in the offing. So, who knows what will happen? Not me.

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OFCOM CONSIDERING GIVING LICENCE FEE SHARE TO COMMERCIAL TYPES
OfCom has said that some of the TV licence fee could be given to commercial broadcasters, which I think they may have said before, but whatever. The plan would be designed to help commercial broadcasters like ITV, Channel 4 and Five to fulfil their public service obligations, including news, local and children's programming. Channel 4, in particular, have recently been saying that the traditional commercial TV business model will not be enough to support their wide public service aims in the long term. But, of course, if some licence money was to go to commercial broadcasters, that could be problematic for the BBC, who are already coming to terms with the budgetary impact of a less than hoped licence fee rise.

OfCom boss Ed Richards said this week: "Public service broadcasting is at a crossroads. Viewers still want a mix of high quality UK-made content, but the traditional television model is not enough to meet all their needs. Today's proposals outline options for a securely-funded PSB [public service broadcasting] future. Now is the time for a wide-ranging debate looking carefully and dispassionately at all the options".

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BBC RADIO CHIEF STEPS DOWN
The BBC's Director Of Audio And Music, Jenny Abramsky, has announced she is leaving the Beeb after nearly forty years there, to become chair of the National Heritage Memorial Fund. During her time at the BBC, Abramsky has been editor of Radio 4's 'Today', 'World At One' and 'PM', she was launch controller of BBC Radio Five Live, director of continuous news services like News 24, and has more recently overseen the expansion of the Corporation's digital radio ventures.

Confirming her departure, BBC Director General Mark Thompson told reporters: "Her contribution to the BBC has been immense and she will leave a precious and lasting legacy. Everything she has done has been characterised by her legendary passion for the medium of radio and the BBC as a public service broadcaster, as well as her devotion to BBC audiences".

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BEYONCE SHOWS US HER RING
After literally days of speculation, Beyonce Knowles has been spotted wearing a wedding ring. The singer was seen at apparent new husband Jay-Z's concert in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday night.

Other reports suggested that she is also pregnant, but other reports always do. A 'source' 'close' to the couple told America's OK! Magazine: "I've heard from at least two people that Beyonce is pregnant".

Beyonce and Jay-Z are yet to confirm anything.

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NATALIE PORTMAN DATING DEVENDRA BANHART
I've kind of given away the gist of this story in the headline, but let's press on anyway. Various sources are reporting that Hollywood actress Natalie Portman is dating folk singer Devendra Banhart after pictures of the couple kissing and walking arm-in-arm through New York's West Village appeared on The People magazine's website, which is as good a reason as any to assume such things.

Portman appears in the music video for Banhart's forthcoming single 'Carmensita', which was recently shot in LA.

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JOHNNY DEPP AND VANESSA PARADIS TO MARRY
Okay, I've let the cat out of the bag early again. I just can't help myself. Johnny Depp and French popstress Vanessa Paradis are to be married on 14 Jun, reports claim.

The pair have been together for more than 10 years and have two children, but have always insisted that they don't feel the need to tie the knot, Depp saying recently that the couple were "for all intents and purposes married". However, Paradis is apparently now keen to get hitched.

A source 'close to the couple' is quoted on the MSNBC website as saying: "Vanessa recently told Johnny that she would love to have a wedding. Johnny loves Vanessa very much, and he said if that's what would make her happy, then he would marry her".

Depp did say in a recent interview, "'If [Vanessa] ever said, 'Hey, let's get hitched', I would do it in a second." He's not keen on the idea of her changing her name, though: "It would be a shame to ruin her last name! It's so perfect - Vanessa Paradis. So beautiful. It would be such a drag to stick her with Paradis-Depp. It's like a flat note!"

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LILY ALLEN CAUGHT GIGGLING IN TOILET
Lily Allen was thrown out of the men's toilets at a Teenage Cancer Trust comedy show in the Royal Albert Hall on Wednesday night after she was caught giggling with Mighty Boosh star (and host of the evening) Noel Fielding and that Razorlight guy Johnny Borrell.

While being removed from the loos by security staff, Allen apparently joked that she'd had a sex change. Borrell was less jovial, telling the bouncers "Don't touch me, just don't touch me!" I'm not sure what Noel Fielding said. Maybe he just carried on giggling.

Lily was spotted leaving the Royal Albert Hall 45 minutes later with 'History Boys' star James Corden.

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